Five Home Workouts to Do During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Experts say it’s important to still get exercise while we’re hunkered down. Here are specially designed workouts you can do at home.

Gym closures and quarantine mandates are forcing people to make big changes to their workout routines. But exercise is especially important now, even when the logistics are more challenging, because it boosts us physically and mentally, says Craig Sawchuk, a clinical psychologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

“It’s easy to be sedentary right now and fall into a habit of grazing and watching Netflix,” he says. “Creating a daily routine that involves exercise can be therapeutic and bring a sense of normalcy to your day,” he says. We’re veering from our normal routine in this column by asking fitness experts to share home workouts tailored to different needs and abilities.


Virtual fitness classes can provide both instruction and motivation. Buying home gear like resistance bands, kettlebells and battle ropes will up the intensity of a home routine, says Chris Vlaun, a Miami-based personal trainer and co-founder of V-Art of Wellness. If money is no object, he suggests investing in streaming equipment such as the Mirror (from $1,500), a full-length, interactive mirror that streams boxing, boot camp, yoga and other workouts. Or try a Peloton bike (from $2,245) or treadmill (from $4,300), or the iFit Coach app, which syncs with NordicTrack equipment (from $900). If you crave a custom workout, personal trainers, including Mr. Vlaun, are now hosting live private training sessions via Zoom.

Mr. Vlaun created this at-home workout for people with space and equipment. Perform each of the six exercises for 20 seconds. Use your transition as rest. For round two, do each exercise for 40 seconds and rest for 20 seconds between transitions. In round three, do each exercise for 60 seconds and rest 40 seconds, then reverse.

Jack squats

Standing with your feet close together and your hands clasped behind your head, push your hips back to get into a half-squat position. Jump your feet out to the sides, maintaining the squat position. Quickly jump your feet back to the starting position.

The swimmer

Lie on your stomach. Hold a yoga block or shoebox between your hands, breathe deeply and lift your chest, arms and legs off the floor and flutter kick your legs five times. Exhale and repeat.

Yoga push-up

Start in a push-up position. Lift your hips in the air so you look like an inverted V. Lower your hips back to push-up position, slowly lower your chest close to the floor without touching and push back up to the starting position.

Reverse prisoner lunge

Stand hip-width apart with your hands behind your head and keep a neutral spine. Take a step backward with your right leg. Once your knee almost touches the floor, push back up and forward to your starting position.

Resistance band 100s

Lie on the floor with your legs raised, knees bent at 90 degrees, shins parallel to the floor and a resistance band under the arches of your feet. Hold the ends of the band and keep your arms along the torso. Exhale and lift the legs. Pulse your arms, moving from the shoulders. Repeat 10 times.

Battle ropes jump slam

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart in a quarter squat, facing the anchor. Hold one side of the rope in each hand, then lower the battle ropes down to your sides with your arms extended. Lower into a squat, tighten your core, and then explode into the air, jumping high, while raising both hands overhead. As you land softly back down into a squat, slam the ropes onto the ground in a wave motion. Repeat 10 times.


As we age, our balance declines, says Dani Johnson, a physical therapist with the Mayo Clinic’s Healthy Living Program in Rochester, Minn. Implementing balance exercises as simple as standing on one leg as you brush your teeth can help prevent falls. Getting a daily dose of cardio can boost the immune system.

This at-home circuit routine will get your heart rate up while also challenging strength and balance. Perform the circuit three times. Walk up and down steps or march in place for two to three minutes between sets. To up the effort, she suggests adding dumbbells or improvising with cans or tube socks filled with coins or rice.

Chair squats

Stand in front of a chair with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees, lowering your hips back, keeping weight in your heels and your chest upright. Start by sitting into the chair and standing back up 10 to 12 times. If this is easy, hover above the chair then return to standing.

Counter push-ups

Place your hands on the edge of a counter, just beyond shoulder-width apart. Lower into a push-up then press back up. Repeat 10 to 12 times. For more of a challenge, walk your feet farther away from the counter.

Chair triceps dips

Sit upright in a chair with your hands on the armrests, elbows bent at 90 degrees. Straighten your arms, lifting your body off the chair. Hold briefly. Then lower yourself down. Use your legs to balance. Repeat 10 to 12 times.

Calf raises

Begin in a standing position. Rise up onto your toes, hold briefly, then lower back down. Repeat 10 to 12 times. Place one or both hands on a table or chair for more support. For an added challenge, perform on one leg at a time.


Many shuttered studios, including YogaWorks and CorePower Yoga, are offering free online classes. San Francisco-based yoga instructor Sarah Ezrin is a fan of Glo, an app that offers over 4,000 on-demand classes, and Yogis Anonymous, with over 8,000 classes. A towel or carpet can replace a mat, couch cushions make great bolsters and a belt can double as a strap, she says.

To calm the mind in stressful times, Ms. Ezrin suggests these yoga poses.

Simple cross-legged position

“This pose teaches us to sit calmly in the entirety of the moment, even in fear,” she says. Place your hands on the tops of your thighs for extra grounding.

Cat-cow breath

Start on your hands and knees with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. On an inhale, lift your heart up to the ceiling, arching the back, coming into cow pose. On an exhale, round the spine into cat pose.

Humble warrior

Start in warrior one pose, with your right leg forward, knee bent over ankle, and left leg straight and strong behind, foot turned out to a 45-degree angle. Clasp both hands behind your lower back. As you bend your chest forward inside of your right knee, bring your arms overhead. Repeat on the opposite side.


Kneel with hips over knees and toes tucked (flat for more of a challenge). Place your hands on the small of your back and slowly drop your head and shoulders backward toward the wall. If comfortable, reach down to hold the heels of your feet.

Reclined cobbler

Lie on your back. Bend your knees, opening your thighs out to the side and bringing the soles of your feet together. Place one hand on your heart and the other hand onto your belly. Breathe here for five to seven minutes.


You don’t need fancy equipment or a large space to break a sweat, says Samantha Campbell, owner of Deep Relief Peak Performance Athletic Training Center in Maui. This high-intensity interval training workout delivers a boot camp burn with body weight and household items, like jars of peanut butter and jugs of water.


Four-way lunges, five reps on each side

Hand release push-ups, 10 reps

This push-up variation prevents cheating because you must lower all the way to the ground and raise your hands up before pushing back up.

Warrior pose, 10 seconds


Round 1: Repeat two times

Plank pose, one minute

Glute bridge, 10 reps

Side plank, 30 seconds per side

Windmill toe touches, five reps per side

Stand with your feet just beyond hips width and your arms extended to the sides. Reach your right arm down the floor between both feet, right arm up to the sky, bending at the hips and keeping your knees straight. Switch sides. Add cans in hands for more weight.

Single-leg deadlift, five reps per side

Stand with your feet together. Shift your weight to the right foot and keep a soft bend in the knee. Hinge at the hips, tipping your torso toward the floor as you simultaneously drive your left foot back while keeping your left leg straight. Your body should be in a T shape with your arms hanging straight down below your shoulders. Pull your left leg forward while keeping it straight and raise your torso up to stand. Repeat on opposite leg.

Round 2: Repeat three times

Burpees, 10 reps

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides. Squat. Place your hands on the floor in front of you. Jump your feet back so you are in a push-up position. Do a push-up. Jump your feet back into a squat. Jump up in the air with your arms over your head.

Squat to overhead fly, 10 reps

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and arms by your side, holding jars of peanut butter. Sit back into a squat position, pause and raise arms out to the sides and overhead to touch, palms facing up. Lower arms and return to a standing position.

In and out squat jumps, 10 reps

Stand with feet together, hands touching in front of your chest. Jump the legs outward and descend into a squat, then quickly jump the legs inward into another squat and repeat.

Water bottle turtles, 20 reps

Lie on stomach holding a water bottle in one hand. Lift your legs and arms simultaneously off the ground and pass the water bottle behind your back as you extend the opposite arm to grab it, then extend the arms forward to pass it off in the front.

Lateral jumps, 20 reps

Start standing with feet together, a soft bend in the knees. Jump side to side, as fast and far as you can, keeping knees bent when you land.

Woodchops, 10 reps

Stand while holding a jug of water in both hands straight in front of you. Squat and twist towards your right knee, touching the jug to your knee with straight arms. Bring the jug up and across your body with straight arms. Rise onto your toes as you twist your torso and lift the jug above your left shoulder. Reverse the twist and bring the jug back down to starting position.


Studies suggest that even short daily amounts of nature improve our moods. If you can safely get outdoors and away from people, take a hike, jog, walk or bike ride. Or bring your workout to a park or your yard, Mr. Vlaun says. He cautions to keep distance from other people and to bring hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes to clean any equipment that you touch before and after using it.


Perform a series of arm rotations forward and backward followed by high-knee skips to get your blood flowing.


Set up a circuit where you can rotate between exercises for three rounds. Perform each exercise for 45 seconds. Rest for one to three minutes between rounds. For added cardio, bring a jump rope and jump 45 seconds between exercises.

Bulgarian split squat

Place the top of your left foot on an elevated bench or low wall. Squat until the front leg is at a 90-degree angle. Perform on each leg.

Inverted row

Look for a parallel bar, tree branch or railing around waist height. Position yourself under the bar lying face up, grab the bar with an overhand grip, slightly wider than shoulder width and palms facing away from you. Keep your body in a straight line and pull yourself up to until your chest touches the bar. Lower yourself back down with proper form.

Bench dip with kick

Sit down on a bench about knee height, hands next to your thighs. Walk your feet out so your knees are bent 90 degrees, lifting your bottom off the bench with extended arms. Hinging at the elbow, lower your body down until your arms form a 90-degree angle. When you come up, kick one leg straight. Repeat and alternate sides.


Find a set of monkey bars or a strong tree branch and with an overhand grip just beyond the shoulders perform as many pull-ups as possible in 45 seconds. If pull-ups are difficult, do negatives where you hold the bar at chin level and slowly lower down, or just hold your chin at bar height and hold as long as possible.

What’s your workout?